On Wednesday morning I met some colleagues to discuss a project at Iping Common. We couldn’t have chosen a better day. We have been fog-bound for most of the week, and as I arrived on the common, the sun was just breaking through the cloud, slanting through the mist and sparkling off thousands of dew drenched cobwebs that hung like countless strings of fairy-sized pearls from every twig and leaf and blade of grass.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
One day late in October, I escaped from my computer, out onto the South Downs for a nice long walk in the fresh air. I splashed through puddles along hedge-lined tracks where Wrens and Robins sang, trudged uphill under trees dripping from recent rain and laden with fruits and nuts, and meandered across sparkling pasture where clockwork pheasants strutted and squawked. Reaching the brow of a grassy hill I was greeted by a wonderful view across autumn hued arboretums, toy-sized towns in the valley below where cars glinted on winding roads, and bright sunshine reached down from between the clouds, lighting up the view and sending contrasting shadows running down the hillsides. I walked downhill into an area of thick scrub, past spindle trees full of bright pink berries, between unusual dark grey-green juniper bushes. The path reached a small gate, framed by tall ash trees, and suddenly the view opened out again into a sunlit meadow, filled with scarlet poppies. Like a tapestry, the green field stretched away, woven with bright red poppies and studded with a few rapeseed flowers that shone like yellow jewels. With Remembrance Day approaching, I though it appropriate to take a break from my usual Flower of the Month blog-post, to bask in the glory of these beautiful flowers and direct our thoughts towards the remembrance of all soldiers, past and present, whose sacrifices are honoured at this time of year.
Thursday, 3 November 2011
November, and at last some of the trees are realising that autumn is supposed to be colourful!
Grey, mild weather, plenty of wind and several days of very heavy rain, has resulted in many of the trees dropping their leaves, which the wind then catches and drives into drifts in the gutters, where they lie in sludgy, mud-tinted puddles, before really showing much of that famous autumn colour at all. At last a frost has come, and on a few inspiration-seeking walks near my home, I have found the oak and the beech, the chestnut and the cherry, have started to turn glorious golds and rusts and russet reds.
The roadsides along any country lane are colonized by countless pheasants, that strut about like clockwork toys, with feathers of bronze and teal edged in gold like oriental artwork. The woodland floor is covered with a blanket of spiky conker cases, oak apples and squirrel rummaged leaf litter, whilst the echoing calls of tawny owls drift in through the open window on dark evenings.